Congress party banks
on NaMo being a no-no
BJP cadre during a protest outside Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official residence in New Delhi, May 12. Congress party leaders are hoping Narendra Modi’s controversial image will deflect public attention from the corruption-ridden Congress party-led government’s failures.
ADNAN ABIDI/REU TERS
When Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi stepped out of his home state to a virtual standing
ovation from the corporate sector, the
urban middle classes and the youth, the
Congress party was predictably nervous
and uncertain about how the ‘NaMo phenomenon’ would play out on the national
scene in the run-up to the 2014 general
There was concern in India’s ruling party
that the Gujarat strongman would deploy
his public relations machinery and excellent marketing skills to create a wave in his
favor in the coming months, overriding
caste and regional considerations.
According to conventional political wisdom, the Lok Sabha — lower House of
India’s Parliament — outcome has over the
recent past been an aggregation of the
results from the states. There was, however,
a lurking fear that local factors could be
subsumed by Modi’s popularity.
These fears have given way to relief as
Modi’s recent elevation as the BJP’s cam-
paign committee chief triggered a storm
both within the BJP and its coalition, the
National Democratic Alliance. Veteran BJP
leader L.K.Advani resigned from key party
posts to protest Modi’s promotion and
though he was persuaded to retract his res-
ignation, the episode has exposed the fault
lines within the BJP.